Forex - USD/JPY weekly outlook: March 14-18

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Forex Pros - The yen gain sharply against the U.S. dollar on Friday, after the worst earthquake in a least a century hit Japan, sparking speculation that insurance companies and investors would buy back yen to pay for rebuilding costs.

USD/JPY hit 81.65 on Friday, a seven-day low; the pair subsequently consolidated at 81.83 by close of trade on Friday, shedding 0.59% over the week.

The pair is likely to find support at 80.90, the low of January 3 and resistance at 82.51, the high of March 3.

The yen dipped lower immediately following the quake but later appreciated 1.37% against the dollar. However, uncertainty remains over longer-term currency moves, as it is still to early to assess the extent of the damage and how much money may be needed to rebuild parts of the country that were destroyed.

The Bank of Japan said Friday that it was planning to offer several trillion yen to the money markets on Monday, as part of an emergency market operation aimed at ensuring market stability.

Meanwhile, Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Saturday that it would be hard to compile an emergency budget before the end of March as it would take time to estimate the cost of damages.

The dollar remained down against the yen on Friday, after official data showed that U.S. retail sales rose by the most in four months in February. The Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose 1%, in line with expectations, following an upwardly revised 0.7% increase in January.

Next week, the BoJ is to meet on Monday. The next most closely watched event looks set to be the Federal Reserve's policy setting meeting on Tuesday.

Ahead of the coming week, Forex Pros has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets. The guide omits Friday as there are no significant events on this day.

Monday, March 14

The BoJ is to meet to begin a several trillion yen emergency market operation, aimed at ensuring market stability in the aftermath of Friday's massive earthquake.

Tuesday, March 15

The U.S. is to publish official data on manufacturing activity in New York state, as well as government reports on import prices and the balance of domestic and foreign investment. In addition, the Federal Reserve is to hold its policy setting meeting before announcing its federal funds rate. The banks rate statement will be closely watched as it discusses the economic outlook and offers clues on the outcome of future votes.

Meanwhile, Japan is scheduled to publish a manufacturing sentiment index.

Wednesday, March 16

The U.S. is to publish a flurry of government data, with reports on building permits, an excellent gauge of future construction activity, as well as data on producer price inflation, housing starts and crude oil stockpiles.

Meanwhile, the BoJ is expected to publish its monthly report, which looks at the data policymakers evaluated when making the most recent interest rate decision. Later in the day, Japan is scheduled to publish its tertiary industry activity index, a leading indicator of economic health.

Thursday, March 17

The U.S. is to round up the week with official data on initial jobless claims, the nation's earliest employment data. The country is also to publish government data on consumer price inflation, industrial production and the capacity utilization rate. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is to publish an index of manufacturing activity, a leading indicator of economic health.

Also Thursday, the BoJ is expected to publish the minutes of its most recent monetary policy meeting.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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